Is it a good idea to hire candidates with an online degree?
The advent of the Internet has made it possible for people to perform a wide range of tasks remotely, including pursuing a college degree.
According to a survey conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group, about 7.1 million students attended at least one online course offered by a university in the fall semester of 2012, up from 6.7 million students in the previous year.
Also, 62.4 percent of colleges and universities offered fully online degree programs in 2012, an almost 30-percent increase from 2002. Since the number of people getting online degrees has increased dramatically in recent years, there is a greater likelihood that you will have online graduates applying for positions in your company.
So, is it a good call to hire job candidates with online degrees?
Are employers becoming more receptive to online degrees?
Several years ago, many employers were skeptical about online degrees, because they were afraid that they would hire people who obtained degrees from "diploma mills", unaccredited schools that offered a degree to anybody who had sufficient financial means. However, things have changed over the years.
As more and more prestigious colleges and universities, such as Stanford, MIT and Duke, begin to offer online education, employers have become less wary of the quality of online degree programs.
According to Insperity, a company that offers recruiting services to over 100,000 businesses, about 75 percent of their clients have embraced online education.
Benefits of hiring online graduates
Being receptive to online degrees can be beneficial to your business in a number of ways.
Firstly, you will have a wider pool of job candidates to choose from. It will be easier for you to find suitable candidates if you are open to hiring online graduates, since they make up a significant percentage of the total number of job seekers.
Also, online degree holders usually have a high level of self-discipline, because they completed their degree programs with minimal supervision. Many of them pursued their degrees while they were working, and they had to be very determined and disciplined in order to complete their studies.
Online graduates are a great option if you need to hire people who can take initiative and work independently.
Top 5 jobs for online graduates
Online education may not be a good option for certain students and employers, depending on which field they are in.
Some fields require a lot of practical training, which online education cannot provide as competently as traditional education. Knowing which types of online degrees are most sought after can give you a rough idea of whether or not you should hire online graduates.
As the following article shows, the top “5 online degrees that could pay off” for both employers and employees are business, information technology, engineering, education and nursing degrees.
As long as you choose job candidates who have graduated from accredited online colleges or universities, hiring online graduates does not pose more risk than hiring traditional graduates.
In fact, it may even be a more advantageous option.
John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.